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Thread: Cleaning 2nd hand Mazzer Major - how to remove the ashtray smell?

  1. #1
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    Cleaning 2nd hand Mazzer Major - how to remove the ashtray smell?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all,

    First post, apologies if there's been previous threads covering this topic, I did a quick search but didn't find anything pertinent to my situation.

    Picked up a Mazzer Major the other day for $120 (pretty chuffed by that). Clearly well used but not well looked after. Motor still runs and unit complete (besides the missing doser lid). Serial number looks like its maybe a 2004 model, with micro switches that I plan to bypass.


    Celebratory Zinger burger for scale. My recently retired BES900 in BG (scored an Expobar Office Control)













    The thing smells like an ash tray and was caked in black coffee grime. Guessing the heat from use roasted the remnants of previous coffee grounds to ash.

    Have broken everything down to its components and plan on getting new burrs, but unsure what to use to remove the oils and scents that have built up in the internals, as most places warn about using water.

    QUESTIONS:
    1) Would bicarb, white vinegar or isopropyl alcohol (or a combo of these) be suitable in deep cleaning the internals?
    2) What would be suitable in leaching out the smell in the plastic of the hopper and doser window? A good soak in some kind of solution?

    Was playing with the idea of making up a solution using the above mentioned chemicals, soaking paper towels in the solution and wrapping the insides to steep them for a while, before rinsing and repeating. Just want to avoid any potential for corrosion.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! Will post photos of the restoration asap.

    - C

  2. #2
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    For my Mazzer refurb’s, I use a sacrificial toothbrush to get into the grind chamber and clean out he thread, particularly since you have removed the lower burr carrier. A damp rag can be used if needed for the tough parts, but often better to keep things dry. There is no reason why you can’t use the soft plastic of the toothbrush handle as a scraper if desperate.
    The doser can be dismantled quite well, lifting out the clear surround, removing the doser star, etc. all of which I wash up in the sink with standard detergent. I often don’t disassemble the full lower doser star mechanism, but thats often getting a little too OCD anyway.
    Nice find BTW!
    Google research should help a lot, investigate the cleansweep mod, cocktail shaker doser mod, collapsible lens hood hopper, just to name a few.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Timmy! Much appreciated I used a toothbrush and have taken all screws out where possible, gotten in the nooks that I can, and given good wipe down with paper towels, but have avoided using any liquid for fear of doing damage. Will try the damp rag and dry with a hair dryer perhaps?

    Doser stinks as much as the rest of the unit so I'm inclined to disassemble and clean thoroughly. Found a brilliant picture thread on the resto of this machine elsewhere, so I've been following it closely, and I'll definitely look for the mods you mentioned.

    Cheers!

  4. #4
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    When I had a similar find (Mazzer Super Jolly Auto for about $150) I used toothpicks in the grinder thread to remove the coffee oils etc, someone with more experience might want to comment if this can damage the thread but I found this the only way to get the gunk out. This grinder adjustment was so filled with oils etc that it was stuck fast and took some serious force to unlock.

    The Mazzer I bought was similarly chocked with coffee oils and grinds top to bottom and had been sitting under someones house for 3-4 years.

    Some of the other parts I used coffee cleaner powder and water to soak the parts such as burrs, screws and plastic parts, again someone might comment if these can damage anything. Toothbrush is a good idea, wish I had thought of that at the time.

  5. #5
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    Thanks Roosterben! Great idea around the toothpick to get into the threads - I've got some plastic ones that might do the trick.

    I'd read about cafetto and other powders potentially corroding parts so I'd avoided doing that. I have also played with the idea of using a dremel and a polishing wheel (the fabric/felt kind) to do a light pass over the grinder chamber, wonder whether the friction and speed would be helpful in this scenario without causing abrasions

  6. #6
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    Yeah, most of the metal is aluminium, which really reacts to cafetto and similar cleaners, hence I soak the removable parts and wash with normal dish washing liquid and that usually does the job (once the chunks are removed!).
    A tooth pick following the adjustment threads works well to clean them out if really stubborn.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmyjj21 View Post
    Yeah, most of the metal is aluminium, which really reacts to cafetto and similar cleaners, hence I soak the removable parts and wash with normal dish washing liquid and that usually does the job (once the chunks are removed!).
    A tooth pick following the adjustment threads works well to clean them out if really stubborn.
    Yeah I think you’re right - from what I can tell by colour and surface quality, only the burrs are steel, and the adjustment collar appears to be some sort of plated/chromed brass. The rest including the case is aluminium.

    I’ve cleared out all the coffee grounds, given a real good scrub with a stiff skinny scrub brush, used BBQ wipes, wet paper towel, scouring pads, etc. Made sure to wipe down all surfaces after with dry paper towel.

    Still fairly strong smell of old beans. And spots of corrosion aren’t budging despite elbow grease. Am wondering if a dedicated aluminium polish might be worth a shot at the corrosion? Not pitted or drastic, just surface tarnish which I’m guessing is holding a bunch of the old smells.

    in your (or anyone’s) experience, provided beans aren’t sitting long, would the smell impart and negatively effect my grind?

    got new burrs en route, should be here in a few weeks

  8. #8
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    I’ve never had any issues in my experience. The grind chamber shouldn’t hold smells being uluminium and you getting good access to clean. The doser can hold crap in the nooks and crannies, but if you have followed a strip down/ rebuild guide you should have done enough that a good airing while you wait for the burrs to arrive will make things significantly better. The doser shouldnt be holding grinds long enough perceptibly taint anything (If it can even occur at a level you could taste!)



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